My Crazy, Beautiful Birthday

Friday, August 23, 2013 – I turn 42 years old. I have the day off work. It is a FRIDAY! And on top of all that, I am invited to my daughter’s ultrasound with her and her boyfriend. In my life of beautiful things to count, it is one of the best birthday presents I could ask for. And I get to see her. There on the screen, all squishy cheeks with her head down and ready for GO time.

But the little booger is just not ready. Sydney has zero signs of labor. And that is OK by me. I want her here safe, and when it is time. It doesn’t have to be on MY birthday (although that would be so cool and totally trump my last gift).

But no. It’s not time. Or is it?

The ultrasound tech seems to think so. The fluid in Sydney’s amniotic sac has dropped significantly. So much so, she thinks the Doctor might go ahead and induce her labor before the baby runs out of juice….TODAY. On my Birthday! SHUT UP!

And that is exactly what they do. Admit her to the hospital, put her in a delivery bed, and give her the medicine to start the contractions.

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I’m in disbelief. There is NO way this is happening…ON MY BIRTHDAY.

Let me tell ya, I am giddy! Ridiculously! So! THIS is the best birthday present EVER!

The night wears on and the clock hand is nearing midnight. I tell my sweet grand girl it is okay if she is born the next day. No matter what, she is still the best birthday ever. And in my heart, I know this little one wants her own special day and that brings me so much joy.

I post a poll on Facebook to predict the time of birth. Hey, if it’s gonna be a long all-niter then at least I can do something to pass the time. So many of my sweet friends choose before midnight. HA. My prediction? 5:30am

Midnight passes and my birthday ends, but the labor does not and the night goes on. Sydney is given less than a 1/2 teaspoon of pitocin. The previous medicine given at Noon the day before is still working and she doesn’t need the pitocin. This is good. This is more natural (even though it is not). If anyone has been induced before (raising my hand) with pitocin. That stuff is a beast. ::shudder::

As we go into the wee hours of the early morning August 24th. The labor is steady, but not too strong. Sydney tries to stay comfortable. My mind drifts, and my eyes start to close.
© Angelia's Photography

Quiet hours go by until, finally, the nurse begins moving the bed and moving extra people out of the room. Baby is ready. Sydney is ready. And it is time to begin the push phase. Brandon and Sydney allow me to stay as the one additional person that can be in the room (shhhhhtup….best day after my birthday present ever). Not only do I get to see my grand child be born into this world, I also have my camera (of course). Having given birth, I know the moment is fast and fuzzy. Emotions are high, moms are tired. I want them to have photographs to cherish. To re-live that moment again and again. Birth Photography is becoming more popular (although it’s expensive). I studied the ins and outs online. What lenses to use….What settings…..Where to stand. I just prayed I would get it right.

5:30AM – It’s GO time for baby. Let the pushing begin.
© Angelia's Photography

I am a little amazed my time prediction is thissss close.

Sydney had an epidural earlier for the pain. She is given oxygen for the health of both of them. It is so hard to push when you are numb, but she does. It takes a lot of strength and resilience. She gives all she has every contraction. Brandon is at her side coaching her all the way through. It is exhausting. Exhausting to watch. Exhausting to wait. My stomach is in knots because it is sooo hard watching your child struggle and strain. A friend did warn me that I would be torn up by this and I am.

The baby’s head is RIGHT there. The only thing holding her back is her Daddy’s ears (HA! Kidding! But really funny when the doctor actually said that).

At 608am, Averey Elizabeth enters our lives with the most beautiful cry. She sounds just like her Mama and looks just like her Daddy. My heart springs from my chest. So amazing. So beautiful.

I am really glad the camera is in my hand and in front of my face. I am pretty sure it is keeping me grounded. I think I would be a blubbering puddle if I didn’t have a “job” to do.

I follow baby while Brandon pushes her crib to her first bath and we join what I call the Grandpa Brigade – Great Grandpawpaw, Grandpaw, and Poppy (Brandon’s Grandpa, Dad, and my husband Jason). It is completely adorable to watch all these big boys – who waited all day and night at the hospital – melt into a puddle over their tiny new baby girl. Did you see that? She already has them wrapped around her bitty finger. Just. Like. That.
© Angelia's Photography
I melt too. My eyes are googly and misty and OHMYGOSH we have a new baby in the family. Then, I realize I should go check on my baby! My little girl who just gave birth. Ooops my bad!.

I go to Sydney and stay with her while they get her clean and move her to the mom and baby room. The new room is exactly like the delivery room except the bed does not have a piece that comes off at the bottom and it is on the other side of the hall. Although it is not different, it is different. There is something in the air on that side. See, this is the place where babies cry and moms listen. They are held, fed, and loved. But most of all, they get to learn about their new parents, grandparents, family, and friends.

One second we are unpacking in the new room, the next second, they bring in a freshly clean bundle of joy. I swear… I forget to breathe.
© Angelia's Photography
She is so incredibly beautiful. I love every inch of her. And what they say is true. It is an incredible kind of love when you hold your grandchild for the first time. One that can not be described in words or pictures.

And THIS. This little package, wrapped all in pink and tied with a hat bow, is why I had the most crazy, beautiful birthday EVER.

Me (Grammy) with a belated birthday present. Little Stinker.
Me (Grammy) with a belated birthday present. Little Stinker.

How could I not?

“A Grandmother’s Prayer”

Oh Lord, I do not ask for much,
Eternal beauty, or youth, or such.
Just give me a little hand to hold,
And I’ll forget that I’m growing old.

I do not ask for cloudless skies,
A life that’s free from tears and sighs.
Just give me a little face to kiss,
And anxious moments will turn to bliss.

For what is there, really, that means so much
As little hands that reach and touch,
As little eyes that search and see
Only the best in fragile me?

So let me grow more loving and wise
By looking at life through their wide eyes.
For through these little ones, you have given
This grateful grandmother a glimpse of Heaven.
Author: Barbara Burrows

The BIG News

Since the day she first told me she was pregnant, there have been two questions I desperately wanted to know:

When was the baby due?

Luckily, the first one was very easy to pinpoint from tons of due date calculators online. I did two things right after she told me, called my gyno’s office to make an appointment and googled when her due date would be. September 1st was the winner (and the doctor confirmed). September will be here before we know it. And I must say, that is sooooo close to my birthday, August 23rd. Maybe, just maybe, I will have an early birthday present.

The other burning question at the time…what would it be?

Girl or Boy?

After a loooooonnnng 22 weeks…….I, finally, know the answer.

I must admit…I was Team Pink all they way.
Week 16 - Project 52 - Sweet

Which to some…is very surprising. I have a girl, two bonus girls, and three of my four dogs are girls. Why in the world would I want to have another girl in the family?

It’s simply really…

The clothes. Oh my gosh, the cute pink, and ruffly clothes.

The sweetness. Well, that is any baby, but tiny pierced ears, dresses, and wearing my mom’s baby ring kind of sweetness.

The fact that my girl gets to know what it is like to have a girl and experience the unbreakable bond of mother and daughter.

Brandon will have his little Daddy’s girl. Which we all know….is something else!

We couldn’t be happier (and would have LOVED having a boy if it had been). It was a win, win either way.

I should have known by the sonogram photo.

© Angelia's Photography

The girl has our nose. It is plain as day. And she is not a morning girl (just like me and Sydney). In the ultrasound room, the tech had to wake her up. She was snuggled up snoozing. After banging on Sydney’s belly, she finally rolled over, yawned REAL big, and then started sucking her thumb. Oh yes, that’s our girl all right. Sydney had three pacifiers when she was little. One for each hand and one for her mouth. I sucked my thumb until I started kindergarten.

We got our first girl outfit when Jason came back from dropping the girls off at their Mom’s. A sweet little baby sundress with an adorable white sweater cover. What did I tell ya? Sweetness! I think the girl’s mom is just as excited as we are. Another girl to go with all the girls.

I bought my first baby girl outfit too.

© Angelia's Photography

I just couldn’t resist. How perfect is that. The girl will be the most photographed baby EVER. I need to start exercising my shutter finger. She will be here before we know it.

She.

And yes, names are being thrown around, but nothing is decided yet. Apparently, the only names discussed previously were for a boy. Um, Surprise!

I will share all the amazing Gender Reveal party photos soon. We had an outstanding photographer there and it wasn’t me.

A Blink After Birth

When I was a little, my favorite story my mom would tell me, was about the day I was born.


Angelia Elizabeth – born August 23, 1971 – 420pm

As often as I could, I would beg her to tell it to me, again and again. Maybe, it was for the closeness we shared. Maybe, it was because my mom told it with such heart, and soul. Maybe, it was because I got to snuggle with her under the covers in her big brass bed. She would wrap me up and stroke my hair as she began to quietly speak. Transfixed, I would listen as she recounted the day with perfect clarity.

My mom, your Grandma Dorothy, died while I was pregnant with you. I was only 29 years old. We were very close and I loved her so much. It was devastating to me. But I had your two brothers, and sister to take care of. I could not grieve forever. As much as I would miss her, I had to do the best I could for my family. You were five months in my tummy when I said good-bye for the last time.

The months went by as slow and hard as I thought they would be. The emptiness and loss were a hole I could not fill. The boys were a handful, but thankfully your sister, age eight, was a BIG help. She wished and wished for a baby sister and not a brother. I told her how sorry I was but I didn’t think I could have any more girls. I wanted a girl more than anything but just couldn’t get my hopes up. It seemed the last possible thing in the world. But in my dreams, I couldn’t help but picture a big brown-eyed baby girl.

Two weeks from your due date the doctor informed me that he would go ahead and induce labor. He felt it was time. I had not gained much weight. I was too thin and too unhealthy. In my harrowing days, I had not taken very good care of myself. It was losing my mom. It was raising three children. It was so many things.

I couldn’t believe after laboring all day the moment of your arrival came, and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I told him, “It can’t be! I can’t have any more girls.” The doctor just laughed. “Of course you can have more girls and you did. Just look at her.”

And there you were….a girl. What I wanted for so long. You were so pretty. You had BIG brown eyes that peered up at me like an Owl. And you were tiny too, only 5lbs 12oz, the smallest baby I ever had. Your thin blond downy fuzz on your head was so soft, and how I loved to count your precious little fingers and toes. Oh, I was amazed and in love. I only wished my mom could be there to meet you.

Back in those days, the babies would lay in the nursery while the mom recovered in her room from the medicines and birth. I was laying there in my hospital bed thinking of you, when I sensed movement at the door. And there she stood. My mom. She was standing there looking at me with such love and adoration shining from her face. She looked me right in my eyes and said, “Oh Sharon, you did it again. She is beautiful and just like you dreamed she would be with big brown-eyes. I’m so happy you got your girl.”

I was startled. My heart jolted at the sight of her. I did what any normal person would do, I closed my eyes, and I shook my head. When I opened them, she was gone.

Oh how I wished I had not closed my eyes. I wish I would have kept them open and talked to her. I wish…I wish…I wish….but I didn’t and just like that, she wasn’t there. But she WAS there. Really there. It wasn’t a dream. It was a moment, I will never forget, for the rest of my life.

Her story is both heart-wrenching and joyful. I am usually crying with her, and for her, at the end. In my heart of hearts, I know my Grandma met me. She gazed at me through the glass. She lovingly reached for my downy head and stared into my big eyes. Oh Grandma, I heard so much about you. What you must have done to visit your daughter in a gesture of comfort, a gesture of reassurance, and a gesture of compassion that you were still there in her deepest period of loss. How much you loved us all. I know one day we will meet in heaven, all of us, and no blink will take that moment.

In loving memory of my mom’s mom, Grandma Dorotha Marie.
Grandma holding my sister, 1963

May 6, 1994

Dear Syd,

I don’t really have a great story about the day you were born. I do know the beginning of my journey was so hard and emotional. I found out I was pregnant, but I didn’t know if you’d really be a pregnancy. I thought I would lose you like I did the pregnancy before you. I was so torn about it, convinced I couldn’t possibly carry you to term. Strangely enough, I kept a weekly pregnancy journal anyway. Maybe one day you will read it and understand how extremely grateful I was that I did carry you to term and recorded every moment.

That is, up until you wouldn’t come out. Yeah. My first due date April 21st (my brother’s birthday) came and went. Then, my second (original) due date came, April 28th, then went. In the last four weeks, doc said it could be ANY day. Yet any day was another day, and another, and ANOTHER.

I was so huge, I had to turn over inch by inch in bed. I was so heavy I waddled when I walked. I grew out of my maternity clothes for the third time. The month of May came and it was HOT. Yeah, like today; 91. 🙂 I had to break down and buy maternity shorts. I dragged your dad out shopping and walking. When we weren’t doing that, I walked on the treadmill for an HOUR. I almost drank mineral oil. I was THAT desperate.

Then I got scared, because if you are in the oven too long, my placenta could stop nourishing you. You could die. It was almost like going back to the beginning. I was in turmoil. Afraid you wouldn’t get here. Afraid of the tragedy that shadowed our family when your 7 day old cousin Will died only 10 months before. The wounds still fresh and tender. Now I was walking on the treadmill with tears streaming down my face as I told you how much I loved you and just wanted you safe in my arms.

The smart Doctor Peters decided to induce labor for the emotional first time mom. Good call.  He scheduled it for early morning on Friday that week. The day before, I sat on the driveway visiting with our neighbors in my new shorts. When I got up that morning, I had a nice cherry RED sunburn on my front side – cheeks, forearms, and upper thighs – you know the thighs in stirrups while you are pushing with a 100 people in the room. Lovely, at least my cheeks were already red.

It took a loooong time for labor to start. For one, gosh you were stubborn. Two, I was having BACK labor which the monitor was not picking up. Third, your dad was SLEEPING on the couch in our birthing suite. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I just gripped the bed rails through the pain shooting daggers at him while the monitor showed nothing. Thank God a nurse came in and noticed I wasn’t reading my book anymore and decided to put an internal monitor in. BAM. Big spikes on the monitor now. Hey! I was in labor! What do you know.

The rest of the day went pretty fast until it was time to push. Remember how stubborn you were? Yeah, you didn’t want to come out then either. I don’t get it, you’re not even shy. I pushed and pushed and pushed. Finally they used a suction cup on your head. Nope. Forceps (ow). No. The doctor is looking at the clock, it’s 6:30pm and he has Ranger’s Baseball tickets. Brand new ballpark that year. Remember that? It was game time. Batttttter up!

7:03pm you made your entrance. All 7lbs, 1oz of you 19 3/4 inch long. You know you really did look kinda mad. Waaah, Waah. Your eyes were kinda squinted like WTH? I had pushed so hard on the last one, I popped my IV right out of my arm. I didn’t even notice as I reached out for you with my blood drenched arm like a war hero and oh my goodness! You looked just like me….I was shocked.
SydMe

Your dad and I stared speechless. Wah, you cried, softer now, peering around holding your wrinkly pickled hands.

You had gorgeous pink, pink skin, big eyes, a cute pug nose and a stunning cherry red mouth. You calmed right down at the sound of your dad’s voice. You just stopped and listened. I knew you were daddy’s girl right then and there. You were absolutely perfect (well except for the suction cup LUMP on your head). I couldn’t have been happier or more moved by the entire experience.

Sydney Elizabeth had arrived……………………Finally! And just in time for Mother’s Day Sunday. You were the best Mother’s Day Gift – ever (still are).

Have a wonderful “SWEET” 16. The world is a more beautiful place because you are in it.

We love you sooooo much (smuches, and smuches!).

Mom and ALL the family, old and new.


Ange, Sonny, and 6 wk old Syd.